A creator of story and character and our ICONIC survivor, Cate Wood Hunter,
embodies what it means to be a woman of strength while inspiring those in her orbit.
Writing herself into stories, rewriting them, and changing endings Cate's stories exhibit
female characters finding the strength and courage to find and own their voice,
a self-portrait of her own continuous journey she reveals.
Having survived breast cancer three times, Cate shares with us a vibrant tell-tale of her life as many characters, from being a boat painter to being a curator and finally being in a comfortable space to call herself a writer.
Taking an active part in her recovery Cate recalls that her writing career started when doing her Master's degree in Fine Art and being diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time.
Being diagnosed for the first time, Cate had her moment of obstinacy. She recollects an inner voice echoing, " I can't die now, I haven't written my screenplays, I haven't finished traveling the world, and I haven't grown old with Ian yet, " it is in that moment of devastation and having her world cracked open throwing her a lifeline to cling onto and focus on.
"It took a while to work out that my desire to be part of this world was not to be the performer but the creator of the story."When asked to define in a phrase how she lives her life, she describes her way of life as a conscious act of trying to move from fear, anxiety, and insecurity into courage and fulfilment of her purpose.
Describing her journey as a breast cancer survivor, she responds that the most challenging part of her journey is still overcoming anxiety and introversion to engage with the world, network, and make herself seen. Nonetheless, her resilience perseveres when she reflects on what it means to be a 'survivor' - acknowledging how far she has come, having managed to live beyond a potentially live-ending event, and seeing herself as a strong and resilient woman.
It is no surprise that Cate embodies our raised rectangle ring in gold; chosen as her Black Betty embodiment, she resonates with the warmth and boldness it awakes, describing herself as practical, down-to-earth, and robust.
"I am multifaceted, but in unexpected ways – like the organic cut of the stone. I am a precious gem formed under great pressure and through minerals, like life experiences, seeping through rocks."
With so many iconic women doing incredible things, when asked which female icon is blowing Cate's mind right now, she narrows it down to Hollywood icon Elizabeth Moss, an incredible performer, storyteller, and producer who is not limited or defined by others.
The second being her personal icon and close friend Lou Billett, who has founded and is running a rural school, African Angels, having helped activate a wave that is
changing the lives of the whole community that the children come from.
And lastly, national icon Thuli Madonsela, who in her eyes is one person who can really make a difference and has Cate's vote as the next president.
Her advice to other women and survivors in the community:
"Listen to your body, trust your instincts, don't hold yourself back, be your full you - find the balance between letting go and trusting, and taking control and determining things for yourself."
Learning how to tune into her body and doing the work, she expresses what it means to lean into oneself and explore how to be at ease and find wholeness. Practicing the sentiment of being inspired, she draws upon spending time and relaxing in nature, engaging in a creative form, and being in conversation with friends. While dancing, writing, walking in forests, swimming in rock pools, and being silly with friends is when she feels most like herself.
The best advice she's received... "Be the squeaky wheel!' – keep squeaking no matter how irritating it is, or you are not going to get the help you need."
As a writer and creator of stories, Cate responds that being forced to face her yearning for herself - she does not want to write about her journey, having lived and still living it but instead draws on it to inform how she sees life and how she writes.